If you’re a Raised on a Roux Facebook fan, you know that I spent most of last week “cooking up a storm” in case my family decided to head this way to escape the wrath of ugly Hurricane Isaac. It was part of my hurricane preparedness plan. Even though I currently live 500 miles from New Orleans and am finally outside any hurricane zone, I still plan. The plan is just different now. Instead of gassing up my car, collecting memorabilia, stuffing important documents into waterproof containers, filling the bathtub with water, duck-taping windows and tying down everything not permanently affixed to the house, I clean bathrooms, freshen up bed linens, blow up air mattresses, stock the bar, load up the pantry and fridge and cook, cook, cook! That’s because nowadays I don’t need to evacuate. All I need to do is create a safe haven, a sanctuary if you will, for my family members who are forced to seek shelter elsewhere. And once every room in the “Hogan Hotel” is ready to accept guests, I furiously begin cooking hurricane food.
“Hurricane food” is not a term defined by Wikipedia or the Merriam-Webster dictionary. But trust me, everyone who lives or has lived in a Gulf Coast state knows what it means. For the rest of you, here’s my best description:
hur·ri·cane food [hur-i-keyn food]
- “Essential” nonperishable food items purchased by those who choose to ride out the storm (includes beer, bread, beer, water, vodka, canned meats, gin, canned seafood, beer, canned beans, whiskey, peanut butter, scotch, beer and every obnoxious snack item you don’t allow yourself to eat outside of hurricane season).
- The meals one creates from the contents of their refrigerator and freezer to avoid losing those foods when the electricity goes out during a hurricane (Have you ever had a triple sausage, red bean and shrimp stew served over week-old rice?)
- The meals one prepares for others who seek shelter at their house during a hurricane (the good stuff).
The hurricane food I prepare these days falls under the third category–which certainly beats the hurricane food I used to prepare (definitions 1 and 2), absent the beer and liquor which I’ve always have on hand. Yes, these days the foods I cook during these crises are ones that are thoughtful, delicious and can feed many mouths over multiple days. This Tangy Pulled Pork is one of them.
On day one, I can serve it sit-down-dinner-style with coleslaw and baked beans or mashed potatoes. Day two, I can transition the meal into pulled pork sandwiches topped with leftover coleslaw. By day three, I can either elect to roll the sauce-laden meat and some shredded cheese into corn tortillas and deep fry them (think pulled pork flautas) or incorporate the meat into a distorted form of Huevos Rancheros for breakfast. This pork’s a winner through and through because of its durability and versatility. Important attributes of any hurricane food. But just know, you don’t need to be chased by a major storm to enjoy it!
Tangy Pulled Pork Recipe
1 5- to 7-pound pork roast (shoulder or Boston butt)
4 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
Water, for roasting
Tangy Barbecue Sauce, for serving (see recipe)
Place pork roast fat side up on the rack of a large roasting pan lightly coated with cooking spray. With a sharp knife, make 8 deep slits all over the roast. Using your fingers, plug a slice of garlic into each slit. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar and next 6 ingredients (through onion powder); rub pork with spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from pork and pour 1/2-inch of water in bottom of roasting pan. Roast uncovered, basting occasionally and adding more water to the pan as necessary, for 3 hours. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook until very tender, an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove excess fat and bone, if any; discard. Pull meat apart with your hands. While the meat is still warm, stir in enough Tangy Barbecue Sauce to moisten. Serve warm with additional barbecue sauce on the side. Makes 10-12 servings.
Tangy Barbecue Sauce
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with Pulled Pork. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.